Graphics of charts on a computer screen

Paid Media ROI for Nonprofits

At Media Cause, we’re truly passionate about our clients and the causes they represent.  We want our campaigns to succeed so that the organizations we work with can continue the impactful work that they do. Therefore, when we create a media campaign, we always have a plan in place to measure paid media ROI (return on investment) and the success of every dollar invested.  


What is Paid Media and Paid Media ROI? 

Paid media is any form of advertising that has a cost associated with it.  Paid media helps nonprofits reach an audience that owned media (the content that you own, such as your website and social media posts) cannot. This is a great way to gain new potential supporters and donors by expanding your reach.

Paid media ROI is what you get in return for this investment—the value of the spend.   


Having a Measurement Plan in Place 


A measurement plan, including key performance indicators (KPIs), is always closely tied to a campaign’s goals and objectives.  

When a client is looking to drive awareness—of their organization or something more specific, like an upcoming event—we will likely measure top of funnel metrics such as reach, video completions, or brand recall. In these cases, campaign success is not necessarily directly tied back to an investment value.  

Oftentimes, however, a campaign requires a more performance-based approach to determining success. This is when a campaign’s KPIs will tie directly back to the campaign investment to measure the paid media ROI. This digital strategy, which is driven by results, is often referred to as performance marketing. Ultimately, this means an advertiser pays for media that directly meets their objective. This could be tied to a number of lower-funnel actions that a user takes, such as clicking on an ad (cost per click), submitting their email (cost per lead), or making a purchase (cost per conversion).  


Driving Return on Investment


Performance campaigns will start collecting data as soon as they launch. Media Cause takes a hands-on approach to analyzing and optimizing data to ensure we reach optimal performance. There are many levers that can be pulled to improve performance. From media channels to targeting tactics, there are likely to be many pivot points within the campaign. Ultimately we are looking to find the channels, audiences, and campaign objectives that drive the best return on investment.  

Keep in mind that the best ROI for one organization may differ from another. A more competitive landscape is one factor that may drive up ROI. Audience size and the ability to target a specific audience are also a factor. Finally, how compelling an ad is – from the messaging to the call-to-action to the landing page experience – will also have an impact on how efficient a campaign is.  



Common Types of Performance Marketing Tactics

Paid Search:


When an organization pays for sponsored ad clicks on search engines such as Google or Bing.  

Whether as a standalone tactic or as one part of a multi-touchpoint media strategy, we turn to paid search to drive lower funnel KPIs, like our work on year end fundraising for Starlight.  



Paid Social:


Includes various ad formats that serve across social media networks such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn, etc.  

Paid social can be highly cost efficient and provides an engaging ad experience, as we’ve seen for so many of our clients, including the American Kennel Club.  



Native Advertising:


A form of advertising that blends within content to appear “native” to the page, often purchased as cost per click (CPC) or cost per impression (CPM).  

Time and again, we find that diversifying the platforms where our client’s advertise leads to new successes. We’ve seen this be true for Pathfinder’s fundraising efforts and Uncommon School’s campaigns to drive applications. Adding new channels and formats such as native ads, display, or emails to the media mix can be highly effective.   



Benefits of Performance Marketing

  • The advertiser pays for only the media that actually delivers measurable results for their nonprofit
  • With such a close focus on performance, results are monitored in real-time, allowing for improved campaign performance 
  • Performance marketing is a highly efficient way to spend budget

Downsides of Performance Marketing

  • With such a focus on driving highly coveted, lower-funnel metrics, performance marketing can be expensive 
  • This type of marketing is not intended to drive awareness, which for so many nonprofits, is incredibly valuable to move their mission forward.  
  • Performance marketing also offers less flexibility in shifting media efforts to a different objective 
  • This type of marketing is also not always scalable as your advertising efforts must focus only on the audience driving the most cost-efficient results – vs. casting a wide net



Is paid media right for your nonprofit?

Media Cause can advise nonprofits like yours on the best type of campaign to put into the market based on your goals and objectives. No matter if it’s awareness-driving or performance-based—efficiently managing our clients paid media budgets is our top priority.

To learn more about our services, contact a member of our team today.


Related Posts